New Year, New Job: Stefano Petrullo on going it alone in PR

New Year, New Job: Stefano Petrullo on going it alone in PR

For the better part of a decade, PR guru Stefano Petrullo helped launch some of Ubisoft's biggest games franchises.

Then last year he left the publisher, went solo and started his own company.But how was that transition? And what tips does he have for those looking to get into PR?

It's really an honour to write for MCV. Ironically last year I wrote a piece for New Year, New Job just before I went solo and opened my own consultancy, Renaissance PR.

So what's happened in one year?

A lot – a hell of a lot that made me even more conscious that in this industry you should be agile, adaptive and non-formulaic. The video game eco-system is constantly changing and so should you.

In the last year I have worked on mobile products, Kickstarters, indies and Early Access games across all platforms, trying to bring my humble experience and my stubbornness to deliver as much coverage as possible. Sometime I succeeded, sometimes I almost did it, and in any case, I learned.

I keep hearing about how indies are going to die, and that the market is overcrowded across all platforms, and the end is near. In over 25 years of experience in the industry I keep seeing apocalyptic prophecies come and go on a five to nine year cycle… we are all here despite that.

This column is an optimistic invitation to people,and its message is that this industry is here to stay; that things will change again, but passion, determination and an eye for business are here to stay.

I moved from an established triple-A publisher and went solo last April and, quoting myself from last January: "There has never been a more exciting (and hectic) time to be part of this world." I think that's definitely true.

I found a lot of fresh ideas and opportunities in how to do PR for games. I met incredibly talented developers, passionate ones, negative ones as well as some that were a bit confused on what they wanted. Regardless, it was, and is, an amazing ride.

The main thing I remember every day is that PR means Public Relations, not Press Relations. We are heading more and more towards the role of communication experts – not just writing press releases, dropping assets and whatnot. YouTubers are important, but they are just a part of our audience. Community is paramount and the media is still relevant, but they require different topics to what we used to do. Going forwards I am pretty sure it will be more challenging, as PRs, to help them to find those angles or to fulfil their requests.

This is going to be one important step change for 2016: regardless of whether you are working for a triple-A publisher/developer or an indie, communication is paramount to spreading your wings to success. The difference now is that PR professionals can made a greater difference than before thanks to expertise that we have achieved with traditional media.

I recently came back from Insomnia where I was representing Edge Case Games and their game Fractured Space. Between meeting journalists, YouTubers, and old and new faces, I had the chance to interact with the consumers at the stand. This genuinely reinforced my belief that since our consumers show so much enthusiasm we, as part of the industry, cannot become cynical and negative.

Games are selling dreams and every one of us should be proud of allowing people to become a starship captain fighting for territorial supremacy, or a post apocalyptic survivor exploring Boston. We should be grateful and happy to be part of this amazing industry. Happy New Year.

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